β1, 3-Glucan: silver bullet or hot air?

Abstract

Beta-Glucans belong to a group of biologically active natural compounds called biological response modifiers. These substances represent highly conserved structural components of cell walls in yeast, fungi, grain and seaweed. The effects of -glucan on immune reactions are well established however direct comparisons of the biological activities of several individual glucans are extremely rare. As this paper will show, we tested sixteen different glucans and evaluated the possibility whether individual glucans will be similarly active against each of the tested biological properties or if each glucan will affect different reactions. No direct connection between source and immunological activities was found. Based on our results, we can conclude that highly purified and highly active glucans have pleotropic effects, whereas poorly isolated glucans have only average (if any) biological effect.

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